Book review – English history

Portrait of Queen Caroline by Joseph Highmore, c.1735

Caroline of Ansbach: the best of the Hanoverians

25 November 2017 9:00 am

It can sometimes seem — unfairly but irresistibly — as if the sole function of the myriad Lilliputian German statelets…

One of the famous victory tapestries shows John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, at the battle of Blenheim

Peter Ackroyd keeps his revolutions under control

19 November 2016 9:00 am

To write, and indeed to read, a history of considerable range, both in terms of chronology and of subject matter,…

View looking towards the west façade of old St Paul’s Cathedral. On the right are the ruins of St Anne’s, Blackfriars. On the left, flames engulf Ludgate, one of the gates of the City of London

The Great Fire of London’s silver lining

3 September 2016 9:00 am

It was the brightest of futures; it was the End of Days. Three hundred and fifty years before Brexit, England…

Monmouth’s charm and dark, mesmerising beauty made him an object of international fascination

James Duke of Monmouth: perhaps the best king we never had

4 June 2016 9:00 am

In Pepys’s famous words, James, Duke of Monmouth was ‘the most skittish, leaping gallant that ever I saw, always in…

In 1600 Muhammad al-Annuri arrived in England, as the Moroccan ambassador, to propose an Anglo-Moroccan alliance. Shakespeare probably started writing Othello six months later

Gloriana and the Sultan — England’s unlikely alliance

2 April 2016 9:00 am

The idea for a mechanical cock was never going to work. In 1595 the English ambassador to Constantinople, Edward Barton,…

Scenes from a long life. Left to right: the vulnerable young queen, in thrall to Prince Albert; overcoming her demons with the help of John Brown — depicted in a popular souvenir cut-out; and the matriarch as Empress of India

Is there anything left to say about Queen Victoria? A.N. Wilson has found plenty

6 September 2014 9:00 am

A new, revisionist biography argues that it was only after her husband’s death that Queen Victoria found her true self. Jane Ridley is impressed